The Fifth Essential Life Skill: Taking Aligned Action
This is part five of a series featuring the Five Essential Life Skills. The first four skills were: Remembering Who You Really Are, Self-Observation, Transcending the Ego/Letting Go, and Realigning with Your Authentic Self.
A man once called me to lament how difficult it is to meet single women on Maui, so I asked how he was going about it. As it turned out, he was living from home to car to work and back without going out at all. I offered some suggestions on things he might do to get out where the single women may be, but every option was met with an excuse as to why he could not, would not, do that. Simply put, no action, no results.
Action, however, must be in alignment with what you are trying to create; hence, the fifth essential life skill is Taking Aligned Action.
Regularly in both coaching sessions and in “Dear Eve” letters, I hear people tell me that they want to create healthy loving relationships, but their actions, words and thoughts are directly contributing to the exact opposite result. You cannot create a healthy, loving relationship when you are constantly thinking judgmental thoughts about your partner—or about yourself, or when you are withholding pertinent feelings, being dishonest or seeking love and attention outside of your agreement with your partner. You cannot create healthy, loving relationships when you are trying to control your partner or when you stop being who you really are or doing what you love in an effort to get the approval of your partner. Just as you cannot get to San Francisco by driving toward New York, you will not meet your goal when your behaviors don’t lead in that direction. Nor will you meet your goal by doing nothing. You can pray for, wish for, and visualize what you want until the cows come home, but your prayers are unlikely to be answered without you taking action steps toward what you desire. Even if the perfect person were to miraculously show up on your door step, you still have to take the action steps to get to know them, ask them out and, if a relationship does develop, to use the essential life skills to assist in making the relationship work.
The beauty here is that when we have already gone through the other four steps, our actions are much more likely to be aligned and inspired. In fact, when we let go of our ego dramas, often solutions and resource we never thought of become obvious. I spoke with a woman once who said she and her husband were on the brink of divorce over whether the lights should be bright or dim in the bathroom; she liked them bright, he liked them dim. When you are in an ego battle of trying to prove that you are right, the only solution aside from changing your partner’s way of doing it (which we all know is unlikely) is divorce. However, when you self-observe and let go of the ego’s need for approval or control realigning with your authentic self, suddenly options beyond divorce become obvious—two bathrooms, a dimmer switch, a make up mirror, etc. When we align with our authentic self, we become resourceful—re-source-ful—once again full of source.
In review, when something is bothering you, take a deep breath and remember who you really are. Self-observe and notice what you are thinking, feeling and doing. Identify whether your ego-need for approval or control (or both) are at work. Take another deep breath (or two, or three) and consciously let that need go, transcending your ego. Realign with your authentic self and choose your next actions steps in alignment with both who you really are and what you are trying to create. While it seems like a lot of work in the beginning, the more you practice, this whole process can happen instantaneously. Rather than living a drama-filled life, your mental and emotional health and your relationships will improve dramatically!
Intellectual Foreplay Question: What are you doing?
Eve’s Love Tip: Give your actions and words the “purpose test.” Ask yourself if what you are saying and doing are leading you closer to your goals or farther away. Consciously choose words and behaviors that move you toward your goals. Aim to have your words and actions based in love. Say and do things that make you, and those around you, feel more loving.